Tangerine Dream – Sorcerer (Soundtrack)

tangerine-dream-sorcerorTangerine Dream has been hugely influential in the world of film soundtracks, and, more recently, in the world of video game soundtracks. The group has scored over 50 films, including indie films, ‘b’ movies and mainstream Hollywood films.

While it was not their first soundtrack, their score for the 1977 William Friedkin flim, Sorceror, kicked off a 15-year period of intense soundtrack work.

The film was a bomb when it was released. It followed Friedkin’s critically acclaimed and wildly successful The Exorcist. Viewers may have expected another supernatural-themed story, based on the film’s title, or may have been put off by the film’s non-English sections.

Since then, though, Sorcerer has gained respect as an intense, existential thriller – and Tangerine Dream’s music has become one of their most well-respected soundtracks.

The music of Sorceror is episodic. Most of the tracks are 2-3 minutes long – very brief, compared the band’s epic album side-long jams of the time period. Many of them have fade-ins/fade-outs, which make them seem like excerpts from longer works.

What makes the soundtrack stand out is that it features the sound of Tangerine Dream at the height of what is, for many, their most popular incarnation – the Edgar Froese, Christopher Franke and Peter Baumann lineup. This is the lineup responsible for fan favorites Phaedra, Rubycon, Ricochet & Stratosfear.

And the Sorceror soundtrack catches the band at an interesting time, technically.

They had a collection of some of the most advanced synthesizers and sequencers in the world, but were also still making heavy use of Mellotrons, electronic keyboard technology from a previous generation. The score blends the clear, precise sequences of their giant Moog and Projekt Elektronik modular synthesizers, with the more murky, ‘second-generation’ sound of Mellotron tapes. As a result, it’s electronic, but also very organic.

By the time of their Thief soundtrack (1981), their sound had changed significantly, with more polysynth pads and a greater emphasis on layered synthesized sequences.

For fans of electronic scores, and especially fans of TD’s early lineup, the Sorceror soundtrack is a must-have.

You can preview the Sorceror soundtrack below. It’s available via Amazon, iTunes and other sources.

Tracks:

  • Main title 5:28
  • Search 2:54
  • The call 1:57
  • Creation 5:00
  • Vengeance 5:32
  • The journey 2:00
  • Grind 3:01
  • Rain forest 2:30
  • Abyss 7:04
  • The mountain road 1:53
  • Impressions of Sorcerer 2:55
  • Betrayal (Sorcerer theme) 3:38

Personnel:

  • Peter Baumann — Projekt Elektronik Modular Synthesizer, Projekt Elektronik Sequencer, Fender Rhodes Piano, ARP Pro Soloist synthesizer, Mellotron.
  • Christopher Franke — Moog modular synthesizer, Projekt Elektronik sequencer, Computerstudio Digital Sequencer, Mellotron, ARP Pro Soloist synthesizer, Elka String Synthesizer, Oberheim sequencer.
  • Edgar Froese — Fender Stratocaster & Gibson Les Paul Custom Guitars, Twin Keyboard Mellotron Mark V, Steinway Grand Piano, Oberheim Polyphonic Synthesizer, ARP Omni string synthesizer, PPG Synthesizer, Modified Moog synthesizer.

15 thoughts on “Tangerine Dream – Sorcerer (Soundtrack)

  1. I saw this movie when it was first release at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood (high school date) and was really blown away by it. I could never understand why it was so rejected by the critics. Although it’s proximity to the release of Star Wars may have also contributed. I loved the soundtrack and didn’t realize at the time that it was Tangerine Dream…I didn’t really discover them ’till I started college about 9 months later.

  2. It’s a remake of the French film Wages Of Fear, which is also amazing and even more intense. There’s no TD though. ^^

    1. Precisely. A remake of “Le salaire de la peur” by Henri-Georges Clouzot, a great classic. Nevertheless, “Sorcerer” is a masterpiece in his own right. The ending is one of the most powerful scenes I have ever seen. A twist of synchronicity, “The Exorcist” is playing on tv as I type this!

    2. Precisely wrong and endlessly repeated online misinformation. Both films are based on the Georges Arnaud novel. Sorcerer is based on the novel, it’s not a remake of ‘Wages of Fear’.

  3. I saw this in the theatre when it first came out, and was totally engrossed by both the film and the soundtrack. It was probably the second soundtrack album I ever purchased immediately after seeing a film (2001 being the first!), and I really had only heard bits and pieces of TD before then, but this LP turned me into a fan. My crappy home stereo couldn’t reproduce the impact of first experiencing that music in the movie theatre, but it was a close enough that it was in heavy rotation on my turntable for quite some time! I don’t really understand why this movie bombed… maybe too gritty and dark for audiences? Likely just ahead of its time style-wise, since it holds up quite well 37 years later.

  4. Once, they were innovators. These were exciting times and TD delivered exciting sounds. I have never watched the film but I close my eyes and listen to this soundtrack and I see the film. Franke, Froese and Baumann were TD with the exception of Schmoellings stint. They were responsible for my lifelong synth habit. Now playing; Sorcerer….

  5. Oddly enough, one could easily be forgiven for thinking the TD soundtrack, ‘Firestarter’ could have been recorded by Boards of Canada. ‘Charly The Kid’ bears far more than a passing resemblance to ‘Roygbiv’.

    1. And the mention of this soundtrack sounding like parts are lifted from longer versions of songs makes me think of BoC’s recent Tomorrow’s Harvest LP, which uses the same trick.

  6. I, too, have seen this movie and thought it was excellent. I never made the “Exorcist” -> “Sorcerer” connection until now, but I can see how people who liked Exorcist might be uninterested in Sorcerer. And it was one of those movies that had some intentional pacing, so the real “payoff” doesn’t happen until near the end.

    Other notable TD soundtracks I can think of are Risky Business and Miracle Mile – the latter isn’t very well known, but it kicks ass.

  7. Saw this when it came out. Still my favorite film. The Simpsons pay homage in Mr. Plow, but the background music is laughably not TD-ish.

    Friedkin says he wished he’d known about TD during Exorcist: he would never have hired Oldfield. My friend Greg Godivitz tried to throw the manuscript to Tubular Bells in a fireplace while Oldfield was writing it… So who knows.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *